Calling All HR Professionals : Nonprofit Boards Need You


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Nonprofit boards need HR professionals. Taproot and BoardSource interviewed and surveyed HR professionals who served and who hadn’t served on nonprofit boards, and here’s what we heard:

- 87% of your HR peers surveyed expressed interest in nonprofit board service
- Professional skill development was listed as the #1 reason to join a board
- 96% of your HR peers who have served on boards believe it is important to share their HR expertise with the nonprofit

You can play an incredibly valuable role on a board - from counseling a nonprofit CEO during crisis situations involving personnel, to recruiting and engaging new board members, to conducting a skills assessment of the board.

Check out the presentation to learn more about ways HR professionals can drive impact for a nonprofit board.

For more information, check out:

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Calling All HR Professionals : Nonprofit Boards Need You

  2. 2. HR PROFESSIONALS & NONPROFIT BOARDS►Overview of the Project►Key Research Findings►10 Ways You Can Impact a Nonprofit Board►Tools/Resources►Questions/Feedback
  4. 4. THE INSPIRATION “What if every board had a Treasurer of Human Capital?” - Aaron Hurst, President & Founder of Taproot, 2009 BoardSource Leadership Forum Keynote Speech
  5. 5. WHAT IS “LITERACY” RELATIVE TO ABOARD?LITERACY is enough familiarity with an area to understand issues and challenges toaid decision making Boards often focus on Financial Literacy Other kinds of literacy are highly relevant to board service • HR Literacy • Marketing Literacy • IT • Legal • Engineering
  6. 6. PROJECT GOAL & RESEARCH METHODOLOGY► PROJECT OVERVIEW META GOAL: To identify new opportunities for board leadership that: • Create tangible entry points for board service • Provide practical tools for organizations to identify, recruit, orient and engage new board leadership DELIVERABLES: • Recommended “roles” for HR professionals within the board • Handbooks and how to guide for engaging new board leaders► METHODOLOGY INTERVIEWS • 24 interviews with professionals (both on and not on boards) and nonprofit Executive Directors SURVEY • 261 responses from professionals (both on and not on boards)
  7. 7. THE OPPORTUNITY HR PROFESSIONALS CAN Play a key role in the strategic planning process Bring a different lens to 87% of surveyed HR tackle organizational professionals are challenges interested in board Help assess the skills of service the entire board Hire and evaluate the CEO1,081,520 HR Professionals (US)
  8. 8. PROFESSIONALS WHO SERVE ON BOARDS 95% said it’s important to share their expertise with the organizationTOP THREE REASONS TO JOIN A BOARD A positive volunteer experience with the organization To use professional skills to help a nonprofit Professional networking
  9. 9. PROFESSIONALS WHO DON’T SERVE ON BOARDS 9 in 10 expressed some interest in serving on a nonprofit boardBARRIERS TO BOARD SERVICE Don’t know where to start or who to approach Time commitment Reluctance to fundraise Uncertain about what role to play
  10. 10. WHY DON’T MORE PROFESSIONALS SERVE ON BOARDS? Consistent Finding: LACK OF AWARENESS on both sides HR Professionals want Nonprofits need education information on about Point Need for board service HR in general How to get started How to articulate what they How to leverage their NEED to these specific skill set, professionals once engaged What these professionals can do for their boards
  12. 12. CASE STUDYTHE PROFESSIONALCharlotte Stuart, Former VP, Organizational Performance & Development,BECUTHE NONPROFITTHE NEED & FIT“I don’t need the board to be as much of a networking/professional development gain, butrather a way to give back to the community. The very nature of being in HR, you’re alwaysthinking about what else needs to be done — what could I do to improve this process, whatcan I bring to the table? I have a broad focus; it’s the way we think in HR”► Helping the board hire an auditor► Change management► Planning board retreat“What I appreciated was that the organization understood I was interested in helpingthem, but not by doing hands-on volunteer work. Community in Schools recognizedthat they need people like me to help in other ways.”
  13. 13. Preach the gospel of1 talent management plans “Many nonprofits lack the financial resources and knowledge to optimize the capabilities of both staff and board members. An HR executive could provide the perspective and tools to guide the nonprofit to improved performance.”
  14. 14. Find access to pro bono2 resources “Human capital is a horrible thing to waste. Too often nonprofits struggle with limited or no access to technicians that can enable their cause.”
  15. 15. Counsel the Chief3 Executive during personnel crisis situations “I assisted in an emergency board meeting and helped investigate a sexual harassment case between an employee and program manager.”
  16. 16. 4 Change management “I could help [the board] to understand the impact of change and how to drive desired change in the organization.”
  17. 17. 5 Serve on the Governance Committee “I’ve found my work on the governance committee very rewarding. Being a seasoned organizational development professional, I feel I have been utilized in the organization’s efforts to transcend its business as usual and to create a sustainable legacy.”
  18. 18. 6 Leverage the talents and skills of board members “Companies are now recognizing the importance of HR, how well companies engage their talent; at nonprofits, you have the ability to demonstrate the differences between passive HR policies and proactive HR policies.”
  19. 19. 7 Help with hiring, and when necessary, firing the chief executive “[The board member with human resources expertise] was on my search committee and was very integral in the process. Our most valuable resource is human capital and this person puts us in a position to attract other leaders with competency and strategic direction.”
  20. 20. 8 Help with management and regular assessment of the chief executive “The board recognized that the executive director’s performance wasn’t where it needed to be...[but if] performance expectations are not clearly outlined [it is] impossible to approach [the] individual to assess [his or her] performance.”
  21. 21. Help develop compensation9 philosophies and policies, and determine chief executive compensation“I was able to help with researching best practices,contribute to developing a contract for [the executivedirector] and also look at salary levels to inform theappropriate level of compensation. I wanted to make surethat we had good retention strategies in place. It would bedevastating to lose her for a lack of proper policies ornoncompetitive salary.”
  22. 22. 10 Help lead the board through a self- assessment process“Because of the very nature of HR, you’re alwaysthinking about what else needs to be done — whatcould I do to improve this process, what can I bringto the table? I don’t know if other people, besides HRprofessionals, come to the board with that mind-set.”
  24. 24. 1. DETERMINE YOUR INTERESTSWhat causes do I care about most?What type of organization and board will best match my personal interestsand working style?Where am I already volunteering?
  25. 25. 2. FIND AN ORGANIZATION THAT FEELS RIGHTBOARD MATCHING PROGRAMSBridgestar: www.bridgestar.orgCorporation for National and Community Service: ; www.allforgood.orgVolunteerMatch: www.volunteermatch.orgBoardnet USA: www.boardnetusa.orgCORPORATIONSBoard placement programs via your Public Affairs / Community Involvement departmentsPROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONSSociety for Human Resource Management (SHRM) www.shrm.orgPRO BONO VOLUNTEERINGTaproot Foundation: www.taprootfoundation.orgCatchafire: www.catchafire.orgSparked:
  26. 26. 3. DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCEOnce youve identified an organization you’re interested in and isrecruiting, find out everything you can about the nonprofitSet up an interview with other board members or the ExecutiveDirectorCheck out to review their Form 990
  27. 27. 4. UNDERSTAND WHAT BOARDS WANT1. Proven interest in their mission2. Knowledge and understanding of their work3. Professional knowledge and skills needed by the board4. Connections in the community (media, politics, health care)5. Fundraising experience and willingness to participate6. Ability to make a substantial financial contribution7. Experience in working with people from other ethnic backgrounds8. Ability to listen well9. Ability to express ideas and opinions clearly10. Ability to participate effectively in a conversation (neither monopolizing nor hanging back)11. Sense of humor, positive presence12. Ability to ask appropriate questions13. Ability to participate on a regular basis in the board’s work
  29. 29. QUESTIONS & CONTACT INFO DEBORAH DAVIDSON Vice President Vice President for Governance Research and Publications AMANDA PAPE LENAGHAN Senior Manager, Development & Strategic Initiatives